PHILADELPHIA - A total of 12 members from the women's fencing team will try their hand at advancing to the 2012 NCAA Fencing Championships this weekend when they fence in the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional hosted by Lafayette College. Thirteen teams will send representatives to Easton, Pa. for the event, which begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and will be held all day at the Kirby Sports Center.
Besides the #10 Quakers, two other Top Ten teams will be at the event, familiar faces in #2 Penn State and #3 Princeton. A school can qualify a maximum of two fencers in each weapon to move on to the NCAA Championships. This year's Championships will be held March 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio.
As it has all season, much of the success for the sabre squad may hinge on the performance of senior Dominika Franciszkowicz. Franciszkowicz will enter Saturday's regional as the #9 seed, but with three prior NCAA Championship appearances, is well-versed in the pressure that comes this time of year. A pair of freshmen - Laura Barger and Susan Contess - are ranked #19 and #35, while Laura Paragano will make her NCAA debut in sabre at #22. The senior had competed in foil for the three years prior, including a NCAA Championships qualification in 2009.
Foil has been the undeniable strength of the fencing team this season, having gotten off to a 15-0 start and ending the year at 19-2 overall. Freshman Luona Wang earned First Team All-Ivy and led the Quakers with a 41-7 bout record this season. She will be the #4 seed on Saturday. Another freshman, Sarah Parmacek, was Second Team All-Ivy and is close behind at #7 with a 33-10 mark. Sophomore Wendy Zhao will fence at #14 while Aida Abdikulova and Rachel Chin prove the depth of the squad, coming in at #22 and #26, respectively, despite a combined record of 42-8 on the season.
Only three members of the epee team will take part in Saturday's event. Amrit Bhinder, a Honorable Mention All-America in 2011 and Second Team All-Ivy this season, leads the way with a 31-10 mark on the year. She will fence out of the #7 seed. Gabby Foor actually has more wins than Bhinder and also competed at last year's NCAA Championships. At 32-14, she has drawn the #13 seed. Lisa Dawes rounds out the team at #20 with a 28-32 record in 2012.